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Maryland’s decline in hospitalizations from coronavirus continues

FOR SUN-PAGE 2 -- STANDALONE -- Christina Medina, working for Westmoreland Farms of Virginia, selects a box of local strawberries for a customer. This is the last week of the strawberry season at their Westmoreland County farm. At the Catonsville Farmers Market patrons are asked to wear masks, wash their hands before entering, practice social distancing, use credit cards Ð and not sample the products. May 31, 2020
FOR SUN-PAGE 2 -- STANDALONE -- Christina Medina, working for Westmoreland Farms of Virginia, selects a box of local strawberries for a customer. This is the last week of the strawberry season at their Westmoreland County farm. At the Catonsville Farmers Market patrons are asked to wear masks, wash their hands before entering, practice social distancing, use credit cards Ð and not sample the products. May 31, 2020 (Amy Davis)

Maryland officials reported 500 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday while the state’s hospitalizations from COVID-19 declined further beneath 1,000 after slipping under that benchmark Monday for the first time since April.

The new cases reported Tuesday bring to 58,904 the total number of Maryland cases and 33 new deaths pushed the state’s death toll from the virus to 2,686. Deaths are not always reported on the date they occur.

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State officials reported 970 hospitalizations Tuesday, nine fewer than Monday, extending a streak of daily declines to 13. Since May 6 when 1,707 people were hospitalized, current hospitalizations have dropped on all but four days while declining 43% overall.

Maryland officials have reported no more than 500 new cases of the virus each of the past three days, the first such streak since early April, when the number of the people tested daily was about half as many as now.

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Of the more than 378,000 people who have been tested for the virus in the state, about 18% of them have been confirmed to have the virus.

The state reported a seven-day rolling positivity rate of 7.15%. Baltimore’s 7.73% positivity rate ranks fourth among Maryland jurisdictions, behind Prince George’s County (11.78%), Montgomery County (9.60%) and Kent County (10.34%). While Kent County has only 188 confirmed cases of the virus, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties have consistently had the most confirmed infections in the state, followed by Baltimore County and Baltimore City.

The World Health Organization recommends 14 straight days of positivity rates of 5% or lower before governments consider easing restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. As of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins, Maryland has one of the 10 highest positivity rates in the country and is one of 20 states with a positivity rate higher than 5%.

Those at least 70 years old represent about one in seven of Maryland’s confirmed cases but about 72% of its deaths. More than 22% of confirmed infections in people at least 70 years old have resulted in death, while only 1.5% of those infected under 70 have died.

The state does not have race data for more than 18% of its confirmed cases. Among those whose race was known, Maryland’s African-American and Hispanic populations account for more than two-thirds of the state’s cases, despite those groups combined representing about 40% of the state’s overall population.

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